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An Alternative National Anthem

   Everybody knows the dice are loaded.
Everybody rolls with their fingers crossed.
   Everybody knows the war is over.
Everybody knows the good guys lost.
   Everybody knows the fight was fixed.
The poor stay poor, the rich get rich.
   That's how it goes.
Everybody knows.

   Everybody knows that the boat is leaking.
Everybody knows that the captain lied.
   Everybody got this broken feeling
Like their father or their dog just died.
   Everybody talking to their pockets.
Everybody wants a box of chocolates
   And a long red rose.
Everybody knows.

   Everybody knows that you love me, baby.
Everybody knows you really do.
   Everybody knows that you've been faithful,
Give or take a time or two.
   Everybody knows you've been discreet
But there were so many people you just had to meet
   Without your clothes.
Everybody knows.

   Everybody knows that it's now or never.
Everybody knows that it's me or you.
   And everybody knows that you live forever
When you've done a line or two.
   Everybody knows the deal is rotten
Old Black Joe's still pickin' cotton
   For your ribbons and bows
And everybody knows.

   Everybody knows that the plague is coming.
Everybody knows that it's moving fast.
   Everybody knows that the naked man and woman —
Just a shining artifact of the past.
   Everybody knows the scene is dead
But there's gonna be a meter on your bed
   That will disclose
What everybody knows.

   And everybody knows that you're in trouble.
Everybody knows what you've been through
   From the bloody cross on top of Calvary
To the beach at Malibu.
   Everybody knows it's coming apart.
Take one last look at this Sacred Heart
   Before it blows.
And everybody knows.

Everybody knows. Everybody knows.
   That's how it goes. Everybody knows.

By Leonard Cohen and Sharon Robinson.
© 1988 CBS Records, Inc.

I hope you understand I just had to go back to the island.
Leon Russell, 1942-2016

Reno City Council passes rent control
Barbwire by Andrew Barbáno / Expanded from the Wednesday 7-17-2019 Sparks Tribune
/ Expansions in blue / Updated 7-18, 7-19, 7-23 & 7-24-2019 GMT
Updated 5-5-2022 GMT


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The Dean's List

   The Dean of Reno Bloggers could very well be Andrew Barbano, self-described "fighter of public demons," who started putting his "Barbwire" columns online in 1996 and now runs 10 sites.

RENO NEWS & REVIEW, 11-9-2006

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This week celebrates anniversaries of impossibilities.

Last week came word that the median stick-built home in Reno-Sparks has topped $400,000 for the first time. (Reno Gazette-Journal 7-13-2019) .That means half the conventional freestanding homes in Washoe County cost more than $400k. The bad news is that apartment vacancies have fallen to a six-year low of about three percent here in Tesla Valhalla.

The Barbwire never forgets

The opening of the MGM Grand (now the Grand Sierra-Reno) in 1978 spawned uncontrolled growth like today. Six new casino properties opened within a few months of each other. People flocked to the boomtown from everywhere. White and blue collar workers pitched tents by the river. (I still have the film.) Rents skyrocketed — if you could find a place at all.

Speculators from California were driving around with suitcases full of cash or cashier's checks, snapping up any property at any price.

No less than Bill Harrah hisself wondered how many casinos this area could handle. The prescient Harrah died on a Mayo Clinic operating table that same year. Not long thereafter, six clubs had closed, a painful push.

Not only were apartment landlords gouging like today (see but mobile home dwellers had it worse, if that's imaginable. You can pick up your stuff if evicted from an apartment. Alas, there is nothing mobile about a mobile home. Barbara Bennett's mobile home park landlord skyrocketed her rent not long after she became mayor. Not enough rate of return on his precious investment, or so he said.

Mobile home salesmen were bribing park owners to evict their tenants. "A space is worth a deal," one dealer said. (He eventually moved to a non-mobile home. Prison.)

Today, tenants can still be evicted at landlord whim although a few Band-Aids were passed by this year's legislature.

The short grandma with the smoky voice and little yellow Volkswagen Beetle started to organize. She created such a groundswell that the Reno City Council had to listen.

"We can't wait any longer," Bennett said. "We've had it up to our ears with a system which not only permits but actually encourages gouging."

She added that mobile home owners were unable to acquire any of the few available spaces unless they were willing to pay $500 to $1,500 as a "reward." Entrance or exit fees are illegal, but "People are desperate. The charge is often hidden and they are fearful of eviction if they file a complaint, so they pay it," she stated. [Nevada State Journal 11-4-1978]

As I reported earlier this year, some apartment landlords charge $50 to $75 per potential occupant to run background checks which cost them about a dollar each. I know one couple that lost $500 before finding a small apartment.
[Barbwire 3-20-2019]

I was at Reno City Hall on Nov. 13, 1978, when a very business-oriented council voted for "rent justification." Mayor Bruno Menicucci voted against it with Councilmember Bill Granata absent. [Reno Evening Gazette 11-14-1978]

Like today, city officials denied having the legal authority to place any kind of leash on the voracious dogs. Future Washoe District Judge Mark Handelsman drafted a "rent justification" ordinance. If availabilities dropped below five percent, an independent board would demand documentation of actual increased costs before rents could be raised.

Then the council made a fatal mistake and forwarded the ordinance to Washoe District Court for "judicial review" before implementation.

After approving rent control, the council was able to backtrack by relying on the little used 1969 "Judicial Confirmation Law" to punt to the court. (Gazette and Journal, 12-16-1978)

Back in the rule of law era, people still followed the now-defunct US Constitution which mandates that courts rule on actual cases. Non-binding legal opinions are the function of other branches of government.

A "petition for judicial confirmation" was filed on December 14, 1978. A copy of the proposed rent justification ordinance and the minutes of the Nov. 13 council meeting were attached as exhibits. (Gazette and Journal 12-16-1978)

In February of 1979, Judge James Guinan bounced the request and rent control died a hard death with it.

Guinan ruled that the court could not render such an opinion. (Nevada State Journal 2-27-1979)

On Feb. 26, 1979, the Reno City Council deadlocked 3-3 (with Councilmember Ed Oaks absent) on moving the ordinance forward notwithstanding the lack of court guidance. They then punted to the legislature which was then in session.

" 'We're being shuffled off to the Legislature,' Barbara Bennet said, adding 'If you want to find a way to deal with this problem, you can.' " [Reno Evening Gazette 2-27-2019]


Rent control legal in Nevada
Barbwire 5-4-2022

Oil ain't all that's rigged
Barbwire 3-9-2022

Reno City Atty: Criminalize homelessness
This is Reno / 7-21-2019
Too much ain't enough
10,000 new apartments not even close.
Low-cost? Fuhgeddaboutit!
MayDay for Renters

Barbwire 5-1-2019
Modest hope for renters still alive in Carson City
Barbwire 4-17-2019 Updated 4-20
Slim rays of hope at legislature

Barbwire 4-10-2019
New legislation introduced
Barbwire 4-3-2019
Rent control introduced in 2019 Nevada Legislature
Barbwire 3-20-2019
Nevada's international shame
The Guardian of London/UK / 7-3-2018
Rent & Pillage
Barbwire 5-16-2018

As in 2019 and 2017, the 1979 legislature did nothing to mitigate landlord profit-gouging. Happy 40th Anniversary.

In 1980, attorney and Assemblymember Bob Barengo, D-Reno, told a legislative subcommittee that he believed "local governments already have the authority to control rents in emergency situations."

Current law appears to agree. (Nevada Revised Statutes 244.143 and 244.146[b] and [c])

Barengo's interim subcommittee voted on April 18, 1980, to recommend that "the 1981 legislature clearly state that counties and cities have authority to establish rent controls." (UPI/Reno Gazette-Journal, 4-19-1980)

Barengo was elected Assembly Speaker for the 1981 legislative session.

Bennett was not without success. Washoe District Judge Peter Breen stopped a notorious LA doctor from skyrocketing rents in an attempt to empty his Verdi riverfront mobile home park so he could build condos. Breen termed it innovative "judicial rent control," noting that the tenants would be deprived of the substantial improvements they made to the property. [Reno Evening Gazette 2-19-1979]

That took balls. The Sparks City Council even passed the area's first apartment-to-condo conversion regulation in 1980. In 1982, Clark County Commissioner Manny Cortez (father of Democratic U.S. Sen. Catherine Cortez-Masto) endorsed passage of a rent justification law. (Las Vegas Review-Journal 6-10-1982)

Sparks City Councilmember Valdo Renucci endorsed Bennett's rent justification idea. "If it was legal, I would be in favor of something like this," he stated. [Nevada State Journal 11-15-1978]

Barbara Bennett entered a multi-candidate primary in May of 1979. Prior to that, mayors were elected among councilmembers. She beat two council  incumbents in an eight-way contest, finishing second to then-Mayor Bruno Menicucci by just 93 votes [AP/North Las Vegas Valley Times 5-9-1979] and defeating him a month later in the biggest upset in Reno political history.

The late great Barbara was the only mayor named to the Reno Gazette-Journal's "100 who made a difference in the 20th Century" list in 1999. A downtown Reno park bears her name.

Time for a fitting anniversary celebration at city hall. Volunteers needed. Contact me.

HAVING IT BOTH WAYS. By mid-century, the Reno Evening Gazette and Nevada State Journal had the same ownership but retained separate editorial staffs. The Gazette's longtime lineage was conservative Republican. The Journal leaned moderate Democrat. On Nov. 20, 1978, the Gazette endorsed Bennett's temporary rent justification proposal. The Journal got around to opposing it on Feb. 3, 1980. Go figger.

POETIC JUSTICE DEPT. Two wealthy local landlords were among the worst of Barbara Bennett's many foes. Both went bankrupt and died as men of humble means.

The game's afoot. The quest for justice abides. Stay tuned.

Be well. Raise hell. Esté bien. Haga infierno. (Pardon my Spanglish.)
être bien, élever l'enfer
(And my French.)
Stammi bene. Scatenare l'inferno. (And Italian.)

¡Sí se puede!

Andrew Barbano is a 50-year Nevadan, executive producer of Nevada's annual César Chávez Day celebration, first vice-president and political action chair of the Reno-Sparks NAACP, superannuated labor/consumer/civil rights advocate, member of Communications Workers of America Local 9413/AFL-CIO and editor of and BallotBoxing.US and and and Protect Our As always, his opinions are strictly his own. E-mail He has lived in both northern and southern Nevada during his half-century+ in the Silver State. Barbwire by Barbano has originated in the Sparks Tribune since 1988 and received its ninth Nevada Press Association award (6th first-place) at the 29 Sept. 2018 NPA annual convention in Las Vegas. His multi-media road construction zone safety campaign for Laborers' Union Local 169 won a first-place award from the National Safety Council in a nationwide competition. (Such ephemera and about six bucks will get you a Latte Mocha Cotsafracas Chingade at just about any Starbux worldwide, guaranteed.) His work has appeared in The New York Times, The Guardian of London/UK and more important publications.


Veni, Vidi, Jockocracy?
Locker room rules: Caesars goes commando, union vows resistance to Eldorado empire
By Bryan Horwath / Las Vegas Sun 6-28-2019 / Reno Gazette-Journal 7-8-2019

Eldorado-Caesars merger means labor union battles far beyond Reno & Las Vegas
Culinary Union leader D. Taylor: "Where are they going to cut?"
Building trade union campaigns continue
By Ed Komenda / Reno Gazette-Journal / 6-27-2019

[4-20-2019] — About 100 demonstrators from almost all the region's unions, local community service organizations and political activists joined Culinary Union members picketing Circus Circus in the late afternoon of April 18. A couple of CC suits came out to see what all the fuss was about, as if they didn't already know. In addition to the familiar union "contract now!" chants came calls for a strike against the Carano jocks. ¡Viva Huelga! ¡Sí se puede!

REAL NEWS DEPT. In January 2019, Culinary Union Local 226 defeated an attempt by Circus Circus-Reno to decertify (terminate) the union's representation of its workers. No word on whether management plans to appeal the result to the National Labor Relations Board which was recently put out of business for 35 days. Thank you, Czar Donaldov.

CONSUMER CONUNDRUMS: PINK SLIPS, PURGES AND PRUNING. I need to hear from recently purged Eldorado Hotel-Casino, Circus Circus-Reno and Silver Legacy employees. Barbwire spies report perhaps 100 workers got the ax just in time for the 2018 holidays. In the Tribune, at Barbwire.US and in the London Guardian, I have lamented the deepening desperation of renters here in Tesla Valhalla. I'm now getting complaints about medical and dental practices purportedly pruning their patient loads, cutting loose the less-lucrative. That's de facto malpractice but medical professionals are lawsuit-proof under Nevada law — unless you're rich enough to personally pay a few hundred grand in legal fees. That's why TV lawyers only advertise for arrest or accident cases these days. If you've been cast adrift by patient pruning, call me at (775) 882-TALK or e-mail me.

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For all the news you never knew you needed to know 'til now: Tell your friends and friendly enemies to subscribe to Barbwire Confidential for warm laughter, cheap thrills, hot scoops and occasional cold logic at BallotBoxing.US/ Cheap at twice the price. (Hush Hush!)

Last year's dark foreshadowings unfortunately became reality. I thus suggest inoculation by signing onto the HushHush! list at BallotBoxing.US/ It's cheap as well as enlightening entertainment. Thank you kindly for your support.

Smoking Guns—>

Relieve Rent & Pillage: Save SB398 & AB399

Barbwire by Andrew Barbáno
/ Special Online Legislative Edition / 4-12-2019 / Updated 4-13 and 4-14-2019 GMT
Fairness for tenants dies 4-12 unless lawmakers throw it a lifeline

Politics does not reward the shy
Rent justification and a death penalty for corporate depredation
by Andres Luis Barbáno
/ Expanded from the 4-10-2019 Sparks Tribune / Updated 4-11 and 4-12-2019 GMT
Fairness for tenants dies 4-12 unless lawmakers throw it a lifeline

Sore-oppressed Soul-Sister Cities: Menlo Park and Reno-Sparks-Fernley share similarly sad high-tech stretch marks.
"All humanity has left the area": paying for Tesla's Gigafactory with outrageous rents & scrambling schools
Barbano and Nevada conservatives decry corporate welfare depredations
By Rory Carroll / The Guardian 7-3-2018
Editor's Note: The Guardian publishes 180,000 newspapers daily in London and environs and generates ONE BILLION monthly web page views. (I should live so long.)

"Facebook is taking everything": rising rents drive out Silicon Valley families
Property companies advertising their proximity to Facebook’s campus are giving low-income residents a choice: pay a huge rent increase or move out
By Sam Levin / The Guardian 6-20-2018

Alfred E. Neuman for Washoe school superintendent
Barbwire by Andrew Barbáno / Expanded from the Wednesday 7-10-2019 Sparks Tribune

Witness at the execution
Meet the new boss, same as the old boss
Barbwire by Andrew Barbáno / Expanded from the Wednesday 7-3-2019 Sparks Tribune

Gang banging on 9th Street
by Andrew Barbáno
/ Special Barbwire Confidential Extra Edition / Monday 7-1-2019 / Updated 7-3-2019 We Don’t Need No Education Archive

BLACK LIKE ME 2119: The problem as solution
Barbwire by Andrea Luigi Barbáno / Expanded from the 2-13-2019 Sparks Tribune / Updated 2-14 and 2-16-2019
Breaking News —> Culinary Union defeats decert at Circus Circus Reno
Dear Readers: The above column served as the conclusion of remarks I submitted before the "Tahoe Talks: Racism in America" symposium at the Incline Village, Nev., Library on February 12, 2019. So you might want to read "FADE TO BLACK" before you read "Black Like Me 2119".

$75 dead or alive: Still crazy after all these years
A mass murderer becomes famous on TV a century later

How come nobody noticed 'til now?
Barbwire by Andrew Barbáno
/ Expanded from the 2-21-2018 Sparks Tribune

Triangle Shirtwaist Factory owners Max Blank and Isaac Harris. Is not Mr. Harris eerily familiar to television junkies?

From the Emmy-winning opening slate of the blockbuster "Cheers" television series. Combined with its "Frasier" spinoff, it lasted 20 years.
The "shirtwaist kings" immigrated from Russia and made a fortune manufacturing "Gibson Girl"-style blouses. (Photo, "The American Experience"/PBS)
The Emmy-winning opening slate of the "Cheers" television series before the "slate" of creators is superimposed. Looks like Mr. Harris' dead ringer (at left) is having a bloody good time.

"Who ya gonna believe, me or your own eyes?" Chico Marx disguised as Groucho Marx in "Duck Soup" (1933)
Back to the story of the 1911 Triangle Shirtwaist holocaust

Triangle tragedy recalled as requiem
"The Fire in My Mouth," a new oratorio by Pulitzer honoree Julia Wolfe, premiered with the New York Philharmonic Jan. 24

By Michael Cooper / The New York Times 1-23-2019

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Copyright © 1982-2019 Andrew Barbano

Andrew Barbano is a 50-year Nevadan, editor of and; and former chair of the City of Reno's Citizens Cable Compliance Committee. He is the executive producer of Nevada's annual César Chávez Day celebration and serves as first vice-president and political action chair of the Reno-Sparks NAACP. As always, his opinions are strictly his own. E-mail

Barbwire by Barbano moved to Nevada's Daily Sparks Tribune on Aug. 12, 1988, and has originated in them parts ever since.
Whom to blame: How a hall-of-famer's hunch birthed the Barbwire in August of 1987
Tempus fugit.

Betty J. Barbano
2-7-1941 / 12-27-2005

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